A bill making its way though the Georgia statehouse could increase the cost of using ride-hailing services in Atlanta and beyond.
Spearheaded by state Rep. Brett Harrell, a Republican from Snellville, House Bill 276 would require companies that “facilitate” or “broker” sales—most notably, ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft—to collect and remit sales taxes.
The bill, which earned House approval March 4, would apply to any such company that reels in at least $100,000 annually.
According to a statement sent out by industry giant Lyft—which, like competitor Uber, offers not only on-call car service, but also an e-scooter option—if the bill becomes law, local ride fares could jump by up to 8.9 percent.
“Adding some of the country’s highest taxes to [ride-hailing] trips will leave many Georgians stranded,” the statement says. “Not only have Lyft and services like it vastly increased mobility for riders, but the availability of on-demand transportation has helped to reduce impaired driving and strengthen local economies.”
Lyft also asserts that taxing trips could also hurt people living on low incomes and those who don’t have access to their own cars or mass transit.
Almost half of all Lyft rides—49 percent—in Georgia “begin or end in low income communities,” and “30 percent of Lyft users do not own or lease a personal vehicle,” per Lyft’s 2019 Economic Impact Report.
Uber officials, who say HB 276 “would force people in the state to pay the highest tax in the country on ridesharing,” have been encouraging Georgians to contact their elected leaders to voice their distaste for the bill.
Divers in opposition of the proposed measure, which would also impact web-based services such as AirBnb, are expected to speak against it at the statehouse this afternoon.
Update: Rep. Harrell sent the following message to Curbed Atlanta: “HB 276 does NOT tax any product or service including ride share. The bill simply requires the ‘facilitator’ (Uber/Lyft) to collect and remit any taxes due rather than their drivers.”